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Keywords:

  • Stress;
  • life events;
  • parent-child relationships

A 20-event, 7-point scale on the stressfulness of selected unpleasant experiences was administered to 364 children in Grades 4 to 6 in an American intermediate school. Independently, a parallel questionnaire was given to their parents to indicate (a) how upsetting they would find each event themselves, (b) what they estimate their own children's ratings to be, and (c) whether they think their children have actually experienced each event. The parent-child agreements among the 239 responding pairs were quite close on (1) the scale values (the median upsettingness ratings) with an r of .96, (2) the discriminal dispersions (the interquartile ranges of ratings) with an r of .79, and (3) the incidences with an r of .96. The striking contrasts with the earlier comparisons with professional judgements invite a reassessment of parents as dependable observer-reporters.